Blue Jasmine (2013): Film Review

From Brooklyn-born film director Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) comes Blue Jasmine, a dramedy starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Peter Sarsgaard. I’ve only just gotten round to watching this film despite wanting to see it ever since I saw a huge poster for it back in September in one of the tube stations in London. I’ve always liked Cate Blanchett’s work and although I was apprehensive about diving into another Woody Allen film I knew I’d find hard to enjoy, I thought I’d give it a go. And boy do I wish I could get that wasted hour and a half of my life back now.

Jasmine French (Blanchett) is a neurotic, complicated, penniless ex-socialite who visits her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco and moves in with her after her life in New York has fallen completely apart. Her ex-husband Hal (Baldwin) was guilty of numerous corporate frauds, arrested and ultimately committed suicide in prison, after having been repeatedly and shamelessly unfaithful as well. Jasmine tries to get by through life one step at a time, finding herself a job and going back to school while her mental health deteriorates and she ends up going rather mad. She talks to herself often and has frequent moments of lunacy. She meets wealthy man Dwight (Sarsgaard) at a party and soon starts a relationship with him, however this doesn’t last long as Jasmine lies pretty much about everything in embarrassment.

I think I have finally come to the conclusion that Woody Allen is incapable of making a decent movie. I keep giving his films a chance thinking this one HAS to be better but I’m genuinely beginning to think he deliberately hits and misses with every single one, and they are so painful to watch. The only good thing about Blue Jasmine is its jazzy soundtrack and the few beautiful panoramic shots of the locations, very typical of his style. But that’s it.

I simply cannot wrap my head around whoever decided Cate Blanchett deserves to be nominated for an Oscar for an Actress in a Leading Role for this. Don’t get me wrong, her acting is at times alright but the film is an overall utmost waste of time, money and talent. All characters do is talk, talk and talk. NOTHING ever happens. And to add to this she goes mad and talks to herself some more. I seem to never learn, all Woody Allen does is make actors talk in his films and there is never any depth or feeling in the plot; there’s never that feeling of being able to relate to any of it or empathise. There are recurrent flashbacks between the present and her life before it all went wrong, which in the first half of the film aren’t visibly distinguishable at all, thus making everything rather confusing.

It’s one of those movies where you feel like you want to physically immerse yourself into the screen, give her a good slapping and tell her to get over her nervous breakdowns and get a grip. It shows a few glimpses into the boring life of a depressed, lazy, arrogant and irritating woman who feels she deserves the world on a silver plate yet refuses to work hard for it. Shallow, superficial, materialistic, you name it. We find out she changed her name from Jeanette to Jasmine because the song ‘Blue Moon’ was playing when she and Hal first met (you can probably work out the analogy between this and the title yourself). She goes on to tell this story to everyone on screen, just to make sure you haven’t missed it, in case you fell asleep. Ugh.

My point is Blue Jasmine isn’t an enjoyable film in the slightest and I do believe I’ve learned my lesson to avoid Woody Allen films from now on. In fact it was so hard to swallow that I put myself through the torture of watching it until the end so I could have this rant on it afterwards. If you’re a fan of films where stuff actually happens as opposed to just having pointless, unnecessarily long chats then don’t watch this. It is most certainly worth a miss.


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